Nostalgic İstiklal Caddesi Tram

Last Updated on April 4, 2024

History of the Tram

There are two nostalgic trams in Istanbul: the T2 Taksim-Tünel line on the European side and the T3 Kadıköy-Moda line on the Anatolian side.

In 19th-century Pera (Beyoğlu), a traditional tram trundled along the Grande Rue de Pera (İstiklal Caddesi) for 1.64 km (1 mile) connecting Taksim Square with Galatasaray and Tünel Square (map).

These red trams, identified with Beyoğlu, made their first trip in 1914. The tram was taken out of service in 1961, and replaced by buses. After İstiklal Caddesi became a pedestrian zone, the tram was restored and revived in 1990. This nostalgic tram, which has been in service ever since has a very special place for the people of Istanbul.

How to Take the Tram

Although it’s as much a curiosity as a means of transport, you’ll find it useful if your feet are tired while walking Beyoğlu‘s main shopping and dining avenue. You can use your Istanbulkart to ride (here’s more on fares).

The termini are Taksim Square and Tünel Square. At Galatasaray Square, halfway along İstiklal Caddesi, the trams from opposite directions meet and cross paths, also stopping to take on or set down passengers.

Practical information

This tram operates between 07.00 a.m. and 10.00 p.m. and runs once every 40 minutes. The journey time of the train from Taksim Square to Taksim Tunnel is 15 minutes. You can reach Taksim Square by getting off at the Taksim stops of the M2 Hacıosman-Yenikapı metro line or the F1 Kabataş-Taksim funicular line. Since Taksim is a very central location, you can easily come from many parts of Istanbul by bus.

The historic tram cars are small, can only hold a few passengers, and are often full. The ride is relatively slow (for one thing, the conductor must constantly ring his bell to clear the way of pedestrians), but pleasant—a good quick tour of İstiklal Caddesi.

Despite their antiquity, the trams carry an average of 6000 passengers daily!

You can take the tram in one direction, then walk back along İstiklal Caddesi for a closer look, or a stop at its boutiques, restaurants, bars, or cafes.

What to Do Afterward

At Tünel Square you can board the Tünel underground train to get to Karaköy/Galata and the Galata Bridge (map).

At Taksim Square, you can board the Metro or the Kabataş-Taksim Füniküler. Taksim is also a major city bus terminus.

 —by Tom Brosnahan, updated by Melike Kocaer


T1 Bağcılar-Kabataş Tram

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